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Are We Civilized?

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Are We Civilized?

Published 1934

1934 drama of man's inhumanity to man, starring William Farnum and Anita Louise, directed by Edwin Carewe, screenplay by Harold Sherman.

An eBook, The Making of Are We Civilized? containing letters and documents of Harold Sherman, is available as well:

Run time 69 minutes 16 seconds
Producer Raspin Productions
Audio/Visual sound, black & white
Language English


Reviewer: rclo - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 12, 2012
Subject: Prophetic
Sober depiction of what could happen anywhere when the people let it happen. In a free and democratic society, it begins with the vote. Put the wrong person in office and pay the price of ignorance.

IMO, The soliloquy of the newspaper editor as the propaganda police were confiscating his library would have been more logically-placed in the film at the preceding honorary dinner, when people would have been more receptive to a history lecture. It's unlikely that the police would have let him go on so long when they were grabbing his books.
Reviewer: sciwriter - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 12, 2011
Subject: On predicting WWII
During the depression era (1930's), it was commonly believed that World War II was inevitable. The question was when. This movie is one of the better portrayals of this thinking.
Reviewer: bearpuf - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 9, 2011
Subject: Prophetic Prop
An engaging melodrama, even if the acting is overboard. I was impressed that this piece could make it to the screen by '34 to issue a call of warning. There were some very visual war scenes that held my attention, and like the other reviewer wonder where they were obtained. Were they real or staged? In any event, I'm a quick sucker for anti-Hitler cinema.
Thanks to the uploader and also to drpsionic (reviewer) for the suggestion of comparing Gabrielle Over the White House to this film. Although a benign dictatorship (Gabrielle...) is efficient, in the wrong hands it can quicken the sinking of a ship. Gabrielle Over the White House is well worth watching if you enjoyed Are We Civilized.
Reviewer: drpsionic - favoritefavoritefavorite - March 6, 2011
Subject: not bad
If someone can upload Gabriel Over the White House it would make an interesting comparison.

It is rare to see open anti-Nazi propaganda from the mid 1930s. We see this film from the standpoint of the fact that there was a Second World War and the Nazis lost. At the time, 1934, they were not universally unpopular and it took some courage for this film to be made at all.

There are the obvious weaknesses, overly didactic, more of a sermon than a film. The bad people are portrayed as cartoons of how Europeans were viewed by Americans at that time, stuffy, dull and given to wearing hotel doorman uniforms (maybe being a surgeon did not pay that well and he needed a part time job). In other words, pretty much a waste of good skin. Dr. Goebbels was a far more charming man than the Minister of Censorship was, which made him infinitely more dangerous.

The WW1 battle footage is cool. I wonder what film they stole it from.

On a side note, the film was written by Harold Sherman, who, in the 1960s made something of a career for himself as a psychic.
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